Jaz parks is a CIA operative who is recovering from a disastrous mission. She is surprised to be informed that she is being partnered with Vayl, a mysterious, near-mythic operative, the best assassin the department has ever had - and one of a very few vampires to have gained acceptance among humans. She's been assigned him at Vayl's own request, no less, and she has no idea why. She's never met him, only heard rumors, and she can't imagine how she could possibly be of any use to him as an operative - but what Vayl wants, Vayl gets.
The last thing Jaz expects is to actually enjoy working with Vayl. They seem to make a good team, despite the fact that Vayl clearly has his secrets - and Jaz has hers. They become involved in what appears at first to be a clear-cut case of hunting down a terrorist, which then turns into a complicated plot involving much more than they'd bargained for.
I was delighted by this first installment in the Jaz Parks series. Jaz is an engaging heroine, tough and headstrong and brave, but vulnerable as well. There is a lot of back story here, which lends the narrative unexpected depth as well as further mysteries to explore in future books. The relationship between Vayl and Jaz is nicely developed, although I was disappointed that, after Jaz gets the news that she's being paired with Vayl, the book immediately skips to six months later, so the reader is unable to witness their initial meeting or the early stages of their partnership. The novel is gripping, with constantly increasing tension and a few unexpected turns of events, and it kept me reading much later into the evening than I intended. I'd like to thank Ladytink for her recommendation of this one. Even though I have a hopeless number of ongoing series in my life, I'm pleased to add this one to them, and I'm very much looking forward to the further adventures of Jaz and Vayl.
Books in the Jaz Parks series:
1. Once Bitten, Twice Shy
2. Another One Bites the Dust
3. Biting the Bullet
4. Bitten to Death
5. One More Bite
6. Bite Marks
Once Bitten, Twice Shy (#1 in the Jaz Parks series) by Jennifer Rardin (Orbit, 2007)
Also reviewed at:
The Movieholic & Bibliophile's Blog: "I enjoyed the characters, the biting wit, and how my interest never once waned in the entire course of the book."
SciFiChick.com: "I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this novel. Rardin ads a perfect blend of humor and humility to an otherwise strong female lead character."
Tempting Persephone: "[Jaz is] strong, sarcastic, but there’s a whole lot of sensitivity there, too. Her backstory runs deep and unfolds over the course of the novel, which in turn adds another dimension to the running plot."